TheGrio Daily

How to Cancel ‘Cancel Culture’

Episode 26

“Maybe cancel culture is people exercising their ability to have free speech.” Don’t you hate having to watch what you say because you don’t want to get canceled? Then you have come to the right podcast, because Michael Harriot is here to teach you the best ways to not get canceled. Yes, he is going to teach you how to cancel, cancel culture.

You are now listening to theGrio’s Black Podcast Network, Black Culture Amplified. 

Michael Harriot [00:00:05] Are you tired of cancel culture? Have you been accused of being ableist or racist or even worst of all, toxic? Well, there’s actually a way for you to make yourself immune to the scourge of cancel culture. Welcome to theGrio Daily. It’s the only podcast that knows how to cancel cancel culture. I’m world famous wypipologist Michael Harriot. Welcome to theGrio Daily. It seems like anyone who says something wrong or does something someone doesn’t agree with these days, they get canceled. You know, they got Dave Chappelle, right? And then they got Chrisette Michele. Thanks to the researchers at theGrio National Institute for Cancel Culture Avoidance, we have perfected a proprietary program that allows our students to avoid cancel culture. It was devised by a panel of experts that are known for their problematic behavior, including my homeboy, Jerome Morgan. He’s an uncle who drinks brown liquor all the time, and a barber name, Akeem Allah Shabazz, who read the 48 Laws of Power and Art of War while he was in prison and Sharida Jenkins who begins every sentence with, you know, the Bible says. But first we got to understand what cancel culture is. 

Michael Harriot [00:01:28] Cancel culture is defined as the ability to withdraw one’s support for someone that’s like a celebrity or a company, especially on social media. And now that we know what cancel culture is, we’ve got to know how to avoid it right before we can even go there. We got to see that we are not going to take away your free speech rights. Right. Well, when I say free speech, I mean, you know the First Amendment, because, you know, the First Amendment only applies to the government regulating your speech. So we’re not going to do that, even though, you know, Black people never had freedom of speech. And we can get into that. We can talk to you about how protests and the ability to accumulate or to gather in public is part of the First Amendment. And Black people have traditionally and historically and currently been banned from doing that from Black Lives Matter to the civil rights movement. But we ain’t going to get into that. Oh, we can also talk about how the klan had the free speech or the First Amendment available to them, and they used it to throw a brick to harm Black people. Because, you know, what free speech is is essentially a brick, right? Like a brick can be used to build a wall of protection. It can be used to build a dam. It could be used to build a fence to stop people from coming to terrorize you or you just throw it at somebody’s head. The freedom of speech and the First Amendment is just a tool. Right. And the way people use that tool is what makes it good or bad. And of course, we never had that available to us. But, you know, aside from that freedom of speech thing, we’re going to show you how you can maintain your freedom of speech. Because if you Black. It’s going to be new to you. And to avoid cancel culture. 

Michael Harriot [00:03:25] Now, step one, you have to watch what you say. Now, you can’t say anything offensive to anybody. Now, that is predicated on the idea that people aren’t offended by anything. Like somebody can be offended by any thing you say. Right? Like if I say sugar doesn’t belong on grits or that I put truvia in my Kool-Aid, a lot of Black people will be offended by it. Like, what you doing putting fake sugar in your Kool-Aid? They will kick me out of the Black club. Right? And trust me, I don’t. That’s just an example. I don’t do that. Please don’t cancel me for drinking sugar free Kool-Aid, because I would never do that. But that is enough to get me canceled. The difference between getting canceled and just offending someone is it has to be publicly agreed upon. Like take Dave Chappelle, right? Like he said, some negative stuff about the trans community and who got offended. People in the trans community. So Dave Chappelle was canceled. Well, he was kind of canceled because they didn’t take his special off Netflix. And, you know, people still sell and buy his tickets. Right. Like he has bigger crowds than ever and he still makes the same amount of money. So you know what? Come to think about it. Dave Chappelle was a victim of cancel culture and nothing in his life got canceled. I’m sure we’ll find example like, you know, as we go on, but trust me, you have to watch what you say. If you don’t want to get counsel, but in the event you do say something negative and someone gets offended. 

Michael Harriot [00:05:12] The second step you have to ignore them. Assert your free speech rights. Because if you ignore them, people just go away. Right. I think that’s how it works. Like when you ignore a problem, people don’t have that problem anymore. I think that’s how, you know, racism works, right? Because white people ignore racism and it went away and white people ignore economic inequality and then that went away. So, yeah, I’m pretty sure that if you ignore people being offended by something, it’ll go away. For years, here’s a good example. For years, we ignored people who were homophobic. And then homophobia went away. Of course. You know, most people in the LGBTQIA community will disagree with that, and most people in the Black community will disagree that racism went away when white people start ignoring it. So perhaps this is a bad example, but I’m sure we’ll find a good example of cancel culture. Anyway, we’re going to go to step three because, you know, I don’t want to get bogged down in the details. 

Michael Harriot [00:06:25] The third part is after you ignore them, you have to realize that you are going to be canceled. Because the public is going to take away all your money. They’re going to take away everything you’ve worked hard to build. Right? Like take Louis C.K., for instance. When people find out about Louis C.K.’s toxic habits, they canceled him. They make venues, cancel his concerts. And then they took away his ability to do comedy, except he still does comedy. And people still go see him do comedy. But trust me, they took away his livelihood and everything that man worked for just because he did something, T.O.X.I.C.K. I think that’s how you spell toxic, right? 

Michael Harriot [00:07:10] Anyway, we’re going to go on to step four because step four is the most important part. Never apologize. You don’t have to apologize when you say something that offends someone. You don’t have to pay attention to people’s feelings. You don’t have to pay attention to when you’ve harmed someone. It’s like when you punch someone in the gut and they say, Oh, it hurt. You can pretend that it didn’t hurt. You can say, I didn’t mean to punch you in the gut. So therefore it didn’t hurt. So never apologize for your actions. And like racism, intent doesn’t matter. If you punch them accidentally. That means it doesn’t hurt, right? Because you didn’t intend to do it. So you don’t have to apologize for anything. And if you give an apology, make sure is one of those, like, empty apologies. Say you are sorry if you offended someone or say, you know, you were sorry, but you didn’t mean any harm. My grandmama used to say, if you say but everything that comes before but doesn’t matter. But I’m pretty sure she was wrong about that. So just say you were sorry in the most facetious, self-serving way possible and you can probably get out of cancel culture. 

Michael Harriot [00:08:27] The last part of cancel culture is to never stop doing what you did. Like if you said something homophobic, the best way to prove that you didn’t mean any harm is keep doing homophobic stuff and people will forget about it. It will be normalized. Or if you did something that’s racist, if you keep doing racist stuff, they’ll say, Oh, that’s just Mike. He’s just set in his way. Now I’m no set in your ways is just what white people say to explain what racism is. You know, my uncle, he was set in his way. You know who set in their ways slave masters. America was set in its ways before they emancipated the enslaved people. You know, the Ku Klux Klan was really set in their ways until they found out that it was against the law to burn crosses on people’s lawn. And so, you know, just say that they were set in their ways to use some other kind of euphemism, but keep doing what you were doing and you will never, ever have to worry about being canceled. That’s one thing that always puzzled me about cancel culture. Like, how can you be mad at people’s reaction to something you said to the people? Maybe cancel culture is just people exercising their ability to have free speech. Maybe society is a democracy, right? 

Michael Harriot [00:09:57] Maybe there’s this thing called a democracy that says like when a lot of people have a feeling about something, they can voice their feelings, not just individually but collectively. We buy the stuff that we like and we don’t buy the stuff that we don’t like and it don’t have to be because of the taste. It could be because of the packaging. It could be because of something that the CEO of that company did. That’s exercising economic freedom. Maybe cancel culture doesn’t exist. But there is one example of cancel culture that I could think of the Montgomery bus boycott. That was a case of a company, doing something that a certain group of people didn’t like. And they said, You know what? We are going to cancel the Montgomery Municipal Bus System. They didn’t have Twitter or they didn’t have Facebook. So what they did was a professor named Jo Ann Robinson actually ran fliers off to hand out to people that said, you know, let’s stop riding the bus. 

Michael Harriot [00:11:14] When Rosa Parks was arrested on December 1st, 1955. Robinson immediately authored the text of a flier calling for African-Americans to boycott city busses. 

Michael Harriot [00:11:24] And then one of her students actually sat on a bus and was arrested for sitting in the white people’s section. And then another person was and then another person was. It started with Claudette Colvin. And then the fifth person. The fifth woman. Was Rosa Parks. Rosa Parks didn’t start the Montgomery bus boycott. She didn’t organize people to start it. It was a widespread boycott that was active in Montgomery. And Rosa Parks was used to demonstrate people’s displeasure with this. When segregation on city busses was outlawed in Montgomery, the women who had previously sat on busses and refused to move were included in that lawsuit, not Rosa Parks. And so we have this mythology with the Montgomery bus boycott that is a lot like cancel culture, just because a lot of people believe something doesn’t make it true. And just because a lot of people say they can’t tolerate something, it doesn’t make it cancel culture. Usually when a lot of people say something is wrong, it’s usually because that thing is wrong and that’s how you avoid being canceled. Just treat people how they want to be treated. Be good to people. Call them the names that they want to be called. Treat them the way that they would like to be treated. And if you extend that love, that humanity, that respect to every single individual that you encounter, I can 100% guarantee that you will never, ever be canceled. 

Michael Harriot [00:13:27] If you can find me some real examples of cancel culture, put them in the comments, you know, email us. I want to thank you for listening to theGrio daily. Every day, remember, we only get like 15 minutes. Don’t forget to subscribe to the app. And as always, we’ll leave you with a Black saying. And today’s saying is; “You can’t cancel whiteness, because if you could, cancel culture would be real.” Thank you for listening and we’ll see you next time. Thank you for listening to the Radio Daily. If you like what you heard, please give us a five star review. Download theGrio app, subscribe to the show and share it with everyone you know. Please email all questions, suggestions and compliments to podcasts at theGrio Dakar. 

[00:14:20] You are now listening to theGrio’s Black Podcast Network, Black Culture Amplified. 

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